Are blogs effective Search Marketing options?? For who?
Most companies can — and we believe should— make blogs an integral part of their search-engine marketing, or SEM, strategy.? Those that do will gain a competitive advantage in search-engine visibility they may never have to relinquish.
It is no secret blogs are search-engine friendly. They generate an enormous amount of fresh content – some adding multiple posts every day. Blogs are loaded with internal and contextual outbound links. Archived blog pages often contain inbound links. Not to mention, every blog post has a title, one of the first things a search-engine spider looks for. Using keyword phrases in titles creates myriad opportunities to attract search matches.
Some companies begin blogging almost by accident or for reasons unrelated to SEM. With this in mind, SEM providers should make sure the client’s blog is properly optimized.
To achieve this:
make sure the blog is part of the company’s Web domain;
submit to blog directories;
make posts 250 words or more;
use relevant, keyword-rich hyperlink text on outbound links, instead of phrases such as “click here;”
create internal links to the blog’s own archived pages in new posts; and
on title tags, consider putting the post title ahead of the blog name, or dropping the blog name entirely. This raises the relevance of keywords in the titles.
Not only does optimizing the company blog improve search rankings for the entire company Web site, it establishes a strong presence on the growing number of blog-specific search engines such as Technorati™, Icerocket.com and Bloglines. Since customers perceive blogs as being more genuine than corporate Web sites, it is likely they will use these new search tools more often to learn about companies and their products.
Given the SEM benefits, why might a company elect not to blog? Some corporate cultures are simply uncomfortable allowing employees to write openly and/or publicizing negative comments. Certain fields, such as finance and law, demand a level of confidentiality that does not lend itself to blogging. Or, companies may lack the time and personnel to develop a blogging strategy and write posts. In some cases, however, these tasks can be outsourced in part or in whole to the firm’s SEM partner.
Unless special circumstances apply, companies should blog now. Besides driving new qualified traffic to the company’s door, a blog offers a host of benefits beyond SEM. Some of the most important are solidifying customer relationships, establishing the company’s reputation for thought leadership and building powerful brands. Blogging may be an unfamiliar technique, but every SEM client will understand a list of benefits like that!
Aaron Wittersheim is president of Whoast Inc., a suburban Chicago search-marketing firm. For more information, visit http://www.whoast.com.
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